American Youth Hostel Design Studio

University of California at Berkeley

Working with the American Youth Hostel Association, Sim Van der Ryn developed a graduate studio curriculum to generate ideas for incorporating a greater environmental ethic into the hostel tradition. Students assessed the ecological impacts of hostels and generated strategies for reducing the impacts and augmenting the didactic role hostel buildings play in teaching an environmental ethic.

In the first half of the semester, students worked as teams with four existing hostels in the San Francisco Bay area. The student teams developed projects specific to each hostel ranging from a demonstration biological grey water treatment system to an ecological walking tour. Students designed and constructed a demonstration biological grey water treatment system to clean the Point Reyes Hostel's mop water. Hostellers see the fouled mop water added daily and the cleaned water produced at the bottom of the system. In the second half, students worked individually on the design of a new 250-bed hostel for a site in Yosemite Valley.